Just when everything seemed settled over at Magic Leap, it turns out that the internal tumult is still in play.
Now, just as newly minted CEO Peggy Johnson has managed to fully position herself publicly as the new leader of the struggling augmented reality startup, more executive departures have begun.
Magic Leap’s chief operating officer Henk Vlietstra, chief patent officer David Lundmark, and chief technology officer Paul Greco are all exiting the company according to a report from Business Insider.
The report, which is behind a paywall surfaced by The Verge, also noted that Magic Leap’s former marketing chief, Daniel Diez, is returning to the company. According to Diez’s LinkedIn profile, he exited the company sometime in 2020.
Since then, Magic Leap had mostly gone silent with regard to communication to the broader tech media space as Johnson carefully picked certain spots to transmit the new mission of Magic Leap’s enterprise focus. Longtime followers of Magic Leap’s recent history might remember the explosive report from The Information in which the news source claimed that Diez called the site’s widely respected reporting “bullshit,” “clickbait,” and reportedly referred to the investigative reporter (Alex Heath) as an “asshole.” The episode seemed to further solidify the startup’s rift with technology media that began with scathing initial reviews of the Magic Leap One back in 2018.
It’s unclear what prompted the marketing executive’s return to Magic Leap, but things may be about to, once again, get a lot more interesting at the augmented reality startup. The marketing push couldn’t come at a better time as Magic Leap hasn’t been as out front as other competitors snagging remote work headlines in the past year in the wake of the pandemic. In fact, other than Twitter, Magic Leap’s usually active Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube social media accounts have been dormant for about a year.
Magic Leap’s latest executive shuffle comes as Johnson and the former CEO, Rony Abovitz, are both publicly promising the release of a new Magic Leap headset later this year. Abovitz, who is no longer leading the company, nevertheless weighed in during the recent release of Snap’s Spectacles, calling the social media’s giant’s field of view decision for the device “puzzling” and responding to positive reactions to the Snap device that mentioned Magic Leap in comparison by saying “26 deg FOV and 30 min battery is not an improvement.”
Later this year, the public will get to see how Magic Leap’s second device measures up to the still-experimental Spectacles device, which isn’t targeted at the enterprise market, but nevertheless seemed to stir the Magic Leap founder to cast a rather critical eye toward the device.